'72 Hrs & Counting, My Luggage From Heathrow Hasn't Arrived Yet'
The authorities at Heathrow Airport have said that it is not their responsibility.
My husband and I were travelling from Heathrow to Mumbai on Sunday, 19 June. We reached Heathrow Airport at around 8:15 am for our 12:30 pm flight. But the flight got delayed by two-and-a-half hours and we departed around 3 pm.
The morning before our flight, my husband was scrolling through his Twitter feed and came across a few stories about luggage issues and delays at the Heathrow Airport. He informed me, and I immediately picked up the important stuff from the checked-in luggage, including my degree and certificates, and kept them in my handbag.
When we reached the airport, there were long queues but more than that, there were huge piles of baggage. We joined our long queue at the check-in counter for Air India. As our turn came, we were asked whether we had weighed our bags and I looked questioningly at the desk manager.
He replied that the weighing machine was not working and then weighed the bag 'with his eyes' and went on to print the bag tags. We were travelling with one bag each on an allowance of 2 x 23 kg bags.
Then came the surprise. The next counter had hundreds of bags stacked. And they were not only Air India bags, they were from different flights and to different locations. There was one staff member overseeing a pile of bags and when we went to put our bags, even he went away. We reluctantly left our bags there. The desk manager reassured us that the bags would be put on board the flight.
Our flight took off late. We were made to sit in a parked plane for two-and- half hours. The pilot announced, "We're ready to fly since 30 minutes but the Heathrow ATC can't allow us to take off until 3 due to air traffic."
All this time, there was a buzz that the delay might be because of the time it might have taken due to the manual shifting of the luggage.
We reached Mumbai at 3 am on 20 June, about two hours late from the schedule. It was announced that the baggage is to be collected from belt nine.
As we reached belt nine, it displayed 'last bag' from London ten minutes after landing with less than ten bags circulating on the belt. The murmurs had started. There was already a crowd gathering at the lost baggage counter.
At the baggage counter, the staff was unprepared for questions from passengers and had no idea how to handle the crowd.
Passengers who had a connecting flight started becoming aggressive. The situation was chaotic. The staff was clueless as how to manage and prioritise the passengers who had a connecting flight.
Irresponsible behaviour by some of the passengers led to more chaos. Some of us tried to volunteer to help the staff. When we asked them about our luggage and when it will arrive, their only response was, "No idea. Not today, at least."
The Air India baggage counter staff soon became a punching bag for the mismanagement of the Heathrow Airport team.
It's been more than 72 hours and we have still not received our luggage. The authorities at Heathrow Airport have declared that it is not their responsibility. Air India asked for luggage details which I have already sent. Now we are at a loss as to what to do.
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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